[CQ-Contest] FlQP K4OJ M/M Mobile CW LP
cqdenx4n at gmail.com
Thu May 5 15:49:21 EDT 2016
Hi Fellow FQP Fans,
FQP 2016 is now in the books and it was another Super Fun Ride for team
K4OJ MM/m! Given the propagation challenges from Old Sol, we wisely cut
back our operations to just two radios this year and it paid off with
plenty of action for both stations. Red, K0LUZ and Kevin, N4KM literally
took it to the streets with me as we traveled through 47 Florida Counties
(plan was 48- details below).
First, the results and some stats:
*3505 QSO's77 MultsSCORE = 1.08M*
Approx Band Breakdown (and comparison to claimed score for past 2 years):
*Band QSO's MULTS 2015Q 2015M 2014Q 2014M*
40m - *556 24* 369 35 494
20m - *2575 72* 2941 69 2460 80
15m - *375 57* 1328 69 909 64
10m - * 0 0 * 320 31 110
40 and 15 Meters - 942 QSOs
K4OJ Max Rates:
2016-04-30 2348Z - 4.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 240 per hour by N4KM
2016-04-30 2354Z - 2.8 per minute (10 minute(s)), 168 per hour by N4KM
2016-05-01 0045Z - 2.2 per minute (60 minute(s)), 131 per hour by N4KM
QSO Party - 2016-04-30 1600Z to 2016-05-01 2159Z - 2600 QSOs
K4OJ Max Rates:
2016-05-01 1602Z - 6.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 360 per hour by K0LUZ
2016-05-01 1859Z - 3.9 per minute (10 minute(s)), 234 per hour by K0LUZ
2016-04-30 2209Z - 3.1 per minute (60 minute(s)), 184 per hour by K0LUZ
The 60min rate for 40m was up, but 20m was a bit down vs. 2015 - down the
cycle we go!
Our MM setup was just a scaled-down version of the past 2 years::
2002 Chevrolet Suburban, 2-wheel drive, now at *358K* miles - The NX4N
"Sub" just keeps rolling along!
BAND OPERATOR RADIO ANTENNA
20m Red, K0LUZ K3 20m
Hustler - Roof mounted 20" from 40m ant
40m/15m/10m Kevin, N4KM K3 40m Hustler
- Roof mounted near center
15m Hustler - mounted 30" from 20m, 48" from 40m
10m 1/4 wave whip - Roof mounted 48" from 40m ant
Driver, pinch-hitter op, gator/smokey detector, station engineer, host and
team lead - Chris, NX4N
Co-Host, 10,000 sandwiches/snacks/drinks provider - Lili (NX4N's vy FB wife)
Power - A Rock solid power plant for 3 years running:
Honda EU-2000i 2KW generator driving individual switching power supplies
for each station. Generator was mounted with an external fuel tank
and K5YAA-inspired 'plumbers delight' rain cover with vent on a
carrier. E0 ethanol-free premium fuel was used. Fuel consumed over 24
hours of actual run time = 4 gallons.
*Team K4OJ Tales from the Road:*
ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET:
Chris left home in Tampa early Saturday to meet Red and Kevin in SEM. The
traffic was minimal and the roads clear of accidents - looking good! We met
at our usual Publix parking lot and made our greetings. There was a
nefarious looking dude following Chris as he got out of the SUV - onced
they hugged, Kevin and Red knew that this was a friend not foe. Chris'
brother Matt lives only a few miles down the road in the big metropolis of
Sorrento so he stopped by for a brief meet/greet. As Red and Kevin climbed
in to get their stations and ergonomics ready, the brothers took a few
minutes to get caught up. Matt said his goodbyes and team K4OJ/m enjoyed a
picnic lunch (courtesy team member Lili) in and around the vehicle. Just
super nice weather that would last statewide the entire weekend!
MURPHY TRIES TO GET CUTE:
Ok, 15 minutes until the start so we have to rock and roll to get to our
LAK starting point. What the...?!?!?!? Just before starting the vehicle,
Kevin announces that his 15m SWR not is 4:1 - YIKES! Trying to remain
calm, we start checking connections - this butt-ugly issue is not going
away. We do a final check of the actual antenna connection, moving them
around a bit (antenna, coax, base coil). All of a sudden, the 15m SWR is
1.1 and remained that way the rest of the weekend. Still don't have a bead
on the root cause but at least we got through the contest without further
GO - CQ FQP!
And we're off! The 20m QSO's are screaming through Red's earphones, and
Kevin is seeing some action too on 15m. The Murphy sneak attack cost us
some time getting to our starting spot but it just meant less stop time in
LAK. After a few minutes it's time to start our journey - into SEM, then
VOL we with both stations in action. Everyone is having fun. As we head
toward I-95, the traffic slows way down but we expect this - same road
construction obstacles as last year. Is there *any* part of FL that is not
having road work? We then encounter an traffic-clogging accident on I-95;
team driver seething under his breath but patience wins the day and we get
past it and onto much smoother sailing for the remainder of the weekend.
HOW LOWWW CAN YOU GO?
Kevin was putting up with a marginal 15m band (375 QSO's this year s. 1350
last - wow) and when 5:15pm rolled around he couldn't WAIT to QSY to 40m.
Switching bands, he found 40m already open and loaded with signals - time
to runnem'! He did a wonderful job - clearly some folks were looking for
FL on 40m early and followed him through many counties, even as Red worked
lots and lots of folks on 20m right to the end of the first night. In the
end, Kevin set a Team 'OJ record for # of 40m QSO's - well done!
BACK AT THE RANCH - GOOD MEETS AND GREETS:
We finished the last 10 minutes of the first day's operating period in the
driveway at NX4N's home; Chris and Lili unloaded the lunch boxes/coolers
and put the cold packs back in the freezer as the contest finally ended.
Kevin and Red wearily exited their cramped operating positions and just
enjoyed stretching out the old bones a bit!
Just minutes later team W4AN/m joined us - so nice to see John, Jeff, Andy
(now old enough to help drive) and Randy again! Lili already had fresh,
hot pizza ready in the oven - and the teams were hungry! Just as we dug
in, team NO5W/m joined the party - it was very nice to meet Chuck and Ted
for the first time. You could tell all of us were alternately hungry,
tired and just glad to relax. Naturally the table conversation reviewed
our previous day's journeys - everyone was having fun, experienced some of
Murphy's shenanigans and enjoying FQP on the road. We also talked about
stations, contest expeditions and all things ham.
Dinner went quickly and we were all flat out tired so we hung out by the
cars for just a few more minutes to say goodbye and then everyone wished
each other GL and safe travels on Sunday.
It was a really nice, fun ending to a very long but FB day.
RED's SWR MAGIC:
During our Friday pre-FQP road check, Kevin and I noticed that the 20m and
40m swr's were swinging up and down more than the previous two year. We
determined that the 20m and 40m antennas were moving within six inches of
each other at speeds greater than 60MPH; perhaps the springs were going
soft. We pulled back the 40m antenna and tied it with string to the roof
luggage rack to minimize the issue - seemed to work. Saturday we had
little problem, but Sunday Red noticed the SWR really going nuts. It took
us 90 minutes from that time to pull over and sure enough we found the
antenna worked loose from its base; a bit of pliers-leveraged tightening
solved the issue to acceptable level, but we never did figure out why 20m
swr was continuing to fluctuate - added to the checklist for next year.
BARRELS OF FUN?...oh, POOP!
Sunday started a bit slowly as our sleepy team awoke to Lili's
freshly-ground robust coffee, cheesy eggs and bagels. Nothin' like a
strong hot cup-o-joe to get the team ready for action! We left for our PIN
starting point a bit late but both stations were up and running. Going
across the Sky Way Bridge was a beautiful site, and the salt water really
helped the starting rates fly! 40m was as hot as the night before and 20m
was smokin' too. Things were looking up...
We worked out way down through MTE and SAR with our sights set on the
500ft. stretch of I-75 in DES; as our fellow /m ops know, this nice sliver
of road offers an easy new county with a just a quick pull over.
OK- the GPS is telling us it's just ahead; I'm using our NFDCSS (NX4N
Fancy, Dancy County Signaling System - think lights and screaming people)
so the ops are ready for a new county.
WHAT THE HECK? No - Whyyyyyy? Both sides of the highway are suddenly
deluged with emergency roadwork barrels every 50 feet - Rats! They are so
closely spaced that this driver deemed it unsafe to pull over so with a
whimper and a sniffle we hit the gas and sailed on past it - wah. It sux to
miss a county. Hope folks didn't get Barrel-rolled looking for us in DES.
N4KM's GUIDE, "RFI WHINING PROTOCOL":
Over the past 3 years of this MM/m madness, our ops have had to put up with
wildly varying, and sometime huge, amounts of inter-station interference
(RFI). Sunday morning, Kevin took time from a slow 15m slog to translate
this frustration into an ongoing string of RFI Whining. Chris picked up on
the fun and the two of us used our free time to spew even more good-natured
whining such as:
"The 20m station is hurting my score - wah!";
"The 40m station sux- why does it cause so much RFI on all the other
"I want more stations to work - why do I get the dead bands? Wah!"
"Are we there yet?"
"CLR County is too big - Wah!"
"But I wanted a ham sandwich, not turkey!"
"I have to pee; why can't we stop?"
"My butt hurts - FQP mobile sux!"
And on and on it went with us giggling all the way. Poor Red, up to his
eyeballs in pileups, probably thought we were losing our minds (true but
unrelated to the situation).
CLR GATOR BAIT SPEED BUMP:
As we entered the 'Dragon Monster' County of Collier the traffic thinned as
we flew along the 50mile(!) stretch of Tamiami Trail, praying that an Ice
Cream Truck doing 30mph would not end up in front of us. Our luck held and
there were just a few roadsters and all were traveling fast or easy to
pass. The reward for entering this endless county was nearing quickly -
Just before we got there an 8ft alligator appeared roadside and was poised
for action, seemingly looking for an easy FQP lunch! As we neared him
though, we noticed a bit of blood near his eye; clearly this toothy old guy
had been used as a speed bump. Wonder if the K1XX/m team saw him too?
Bye, Bye Bone Crusher (anyone FL Cracker remember this toothy guy? If not,
look him up - a huge, famous Gatorland Croc and cuzin' to our roadside
HEY MON, WE BE JAMMIN':
All along our endless journey through CLR, Red kept getting requested for
when our team would arrive at MON - evidently activated by only two mobiles
and (to our knowledge) no fixed stations). We could feel the anticipation
rising. When we finally arrive, I announced our new county and said "Go
Gettem!" And of to the races we went - a look of total concentration
emerged on Red's face as he faced a HUGE pileup. Usually we only stay
about 10-15 minutes there because the truck starts to overhead in this
fiery pit of the everglades, so this time we turned off the A/C and just
sat their for 25 minutes to give the deserving a chance to work us.
Several folks cried "SWEEP!!!" and thanked us - we knew that we were
falling behind our schedule but this is what it's really about.
Funny thing is that Kevin on 15m worked a few but there were few answers to
his CQ's though the band was pretty open. After 25 minutes the jam session
slowed way down - mission accomplished. Hope that team K1XX/m was able to
help those we missed.
AN ODE'(R) to PROPAGATION:
Twas the Saturday of FQP and all through each High Band,
Not a signal was stirring, an endless desert of sand.
The antennas were strapped to the roof with care,
But even with pre-amps, not even an esp mouse was there.
So at dusk I flew to 40m in a flash,
With high hopes for huge pile ups of dot-dash.
All through the night I escaped Old Sol's lair,
But reality returned Sunday with nothing but Dead Air.
Goodbye, Cycle 24...tnx es 73
Scores may be a bit down but the fun was still flying high for all who
participated in 2016 FQP including our team; we truly enjoy each other's
company and meeting up with teams W4AN and NO5W made it all the merrier.
We made more than 3500 QSO's and a Million points (claimed) with two
transmitters and some marginal conditions; not bad! Kevin, Red and I
focused on 'FUN" this year; in that regard we had a winning effort! :-)
The K4OJ team would like to sincerely thank all of the FCG officers and
staff who help bring such a FB QSO Party to reality each year - we sure
appreciate your efforts! Chris, Dan, Eric, George, Ron, Ron, Fred, Steve
and newcomer KK3Q Floyd - plus all our 1x1 special stations - you're the
best, thanks again guys! Please accept my apologies if I missed mentioning
Huge thanks also to K0RC and NO5W who both work so hard to bring Super
tools to the Party to help folks track down their sweeps - Bob and Chuck,
thank you for your tireless support! You're the best!
We also want to again thank Jim K5AUP for kindly loaning us his K3; Jim, it
really makes a difference to have such a FB, small radio on board - thanks
again for your generosity each year. Both N4BP and K0RC helped us get our
logs combined when we got stuck doing so - huge thanks to both Bob's!!
MANY THANKS to all of the folks who worked us on all the bands and counties.
Top 10 QSO partners include:
CALL # of QSOs
Our team had a great time working you all! We also truly enjoyed your
company as we rolled down the highway together.
A tip of the hat to our fellow road warriors - great job folks!! Each of
your results and write ups are eagerly read...CU down the road!
As always, the biggest appreciation is reserved for our many, many friends both
in and out of state who tracked and worked us (or tried) repeatedly, put
up with our QRX, QSY, QRQ, QRS, QRDeaf and QLF - THANK YOU ALL FOR THE MANY
Finally, sincere thanks to my vy FB teammates Kevin and Red - sure
appreciate you joining in for yet another exciting ride. This is SO much
fun; really appreciate your positive, can-do attitudes (aside from the
whining... ;->) And of course many thanks to my ever-lovin' wife Lili; I
am truly blessed with her by my side supporting all this craziness.
Jim K4OJ - buddy above, we brought your Big orange 'OJ paddle for the 3rd
year straight to bring you along for this insane bit of fun; thanks for
being our ongoing inspiration for all-things FQP!
Chris, NX4N team lead
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